Latest - Scams and Cons

 

Scam Alert - Cybercrime Exploiting Covid-19

Please see information relating to the many online scams being conducted under the banner of "COVID-19", "Coronavirus", "Working from Home", "Self-Isolation" and "Financial Support/Hardship".

Extra care needs to be taken as we are more excepting of going to unfamiliar websites and receiving emails from unusual sources whilst dealing with current events.
 

Fraud types and advice - Individuals

Online Shopping and Auction Fraud
Seek advice: If you’re purchasing goods and services from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask friends or family for advice before completing a purchase.

Scam messages: Be wary of unsolicited emails and texts offering questionably good deals, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

Payment method: Avoid paying for good and services by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
 
Computer Software Service Fraud
Installing software: Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call.

Financial details: Genuine organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

Tech support: If you need tech support, ask your friends or family for recommendations and look for reviews online first. Don’t contact companies promoting tech support services via browser pop-ups.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

If you granted remote access to your computer: Seek technical support to remove any unwanted software from your computer. Ask your friends or family for recommendations and look for reviews online first. Don’t contact companies promoting tech support services via browser pop-ups.
 
Lender Loan Fraud
Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members first if you’re using a loan company you’re unfamiliar with, or if the lender requires an up-front fee.

Scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
 
Pension Liberation fraud
Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.

Seek advice first: Before making significant financial decisions, speak with trusted friends or family members, or seek professional independent advice. The Pension Advisory Service (PAS) also provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

Tax charges: Ensure sure you are aware of any tax charges (up to 70%), plus other fees, that will be deducted from the amount you withdraw before making any decisions. 
 
Investment Fraud
Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.

Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members, and seek independent professional advice before making significant financial decisions.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.
 

Advice for businesses

Mandate Fraud
Verify: If you receive a request to move money into a new bank account, contact the supplier directly using established contact details, to verify and corroborate the payment request.
Internal processes: Establish robust internal processes for handling changes to payment details. For example, only designated employees should be able to make changes to payment arrangements.

Sensitive information: Invoices, payment mandates, and other documents containing sensitive financial information should be stored securely and only be accessible to those staff that need them to perform their duties. Sensitive documents should be shredded before they are disposed of.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

For those working at home, my colleagues at City of London Police have produced some very helpful guides to stay safe online

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CTSI issues a warning about Covid-19 'Home Testing' Scam

The alert comes as part of the CTSI's ongoing advice to the public about scams and rogue practices relating to the spread of the disease.

Suspicious callers are said to have been knocking on doors of elderly and vulnerable residents in various parts of the UK, saying that they are health officials doing door-to-door testing.

Katherine Hart, CTSI Joint Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime, said: "There are unfortunately people who are willing to take advantage of those who are most vulnerable even at this unprecedented time when we should all be pulling together.

"Those who have been advised to avoid social contact as part of the measures to help stop the spread of the virus are particularly at risk of being taken in by these cold callers.

"Our message is not to open the door to anyone you don't know or anyone calling 'out of the blue'. Stay safe by only speaking to people you know and trust."

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Coronavirus Scam - Be aware

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Amazon Prime Scam Update.

The scam, which we first reported on in October 2019, involves victims receiving an automated call, informing them that they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription.

They are subsequently instructed to ‘press 1’ to cancel the transaction. When they do this, they are directed to a fraudster posing as an Amazon customer service representative.
The fraudster advises the victim that the subscription was purchased fraudulently and that remote access to their computer is required in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from reoccurring.

The victim is asked to download a remote access application, often the ‘Team Viewer’ app, which grants the fraudster access to the victim’s computer.

The Team Viewer software is then misused by the criminal to capture sensitive personal and financial information from the victim’s computer.

Other variants of the crime involve fraudsters stating that the recipient is eligible for a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.

WHAT TO DO
1. Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
2. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
3. Never install any software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. Unsolicited requests for remote access to your computer should always raise a red flag.

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Scam Warning Following Incident in New Milton

We are calling for people to be on their guard after a report of a telephone scam in New Milton.

On Monday 11 November, we received a report that an 82-year-old woman from New Milton was called by someone claiming to be from the ‘Visa Fraud Department’.
The caller claimed that there had been fraudulent activity on the victim’s bank account. He asked her to go to her bank and transfer £4,000 of her savings into another account for safeguarding.

When the woman went to her bank, staff suspected it might be a scam and the matter was reported to the police.
No money was lost.

We would like to remind people that banks will never contact you in this way. It is a scam.

If you do get a call from someone who claims you need to withdraw money from a bank, hang up and report it, using a different phone line. Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the number, if available – this information could help any future investigation.

Never reveal your bank details or give personal information to people who cold call.
If you know someone who could be taken in by such a scam, please take the time to speak to them and give them this advice.

You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself against them by visiting the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you or someone you know falls victim to this type of offence, please report it immediately to police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.

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Paypal Scam and Action Fraud Phishing E-Mail Warning

PayPal Scam
 
A new PayPal scam/phishing email is going around asking email recipients to click on a link to access their PayPal account.
 
Do not click on the link. If you want to check your account visit www.Paypal.com
 
Action Fraud phishing email
 
A new Action Fraud scam/phishing email is going around saying that they have money for email recipients. Do not click on a link.
 
Under no circumstances will Action Fraud, or a police force, ask you to make a payment in order to recover money that you may have lost.
 
For more info visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/watch-out-for-fake-emails-claiming-to-be-action-fraud
 
For advice on how to keep yourself safe from online fraud and cybercrime, please click here

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Don't give a fraudster a Christmas treat.

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Members of the public are being contacted by fraudsters who are offering ‘free’ or ‘low cost’ government grants and loans.

Victims have reported being offered the loans on their doorstep, via telephone, and over social media.

Fraudsters target victims who currently receive government benefits, or are eligible for Universal Credit:

  1. The victim is contacted by a fraudster offering them a ‘free’ or ‘low cost’ Government loan or grant.
  2. The fraudster requests personal and financial information from the target and uses these details to apply for Universal Credit in the victim’s name, usually without informing the victim about it.
  3. The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) approves the eligible claim and transfers money to the victim’s account.
  4. The fraudster then requests that the victim transfer them a significant portion of the money as a ‘finder’s fee’.
  5. The victim receives a letter from DWP about their Universal Credit application and realises that they have been duped. The victim is then left to repay the total amount initially borrowed.

One victim was introduced to this scam by a friend on social media. The friend helped them receive the ‘free grant’ of over £1,000, only to later be asked to transfer £500 to the fraudster’s account as a ‘finder’s fee’. The victim only realised they had fallen victim to a scam after they received a letter from DWP requesting repayments for the loan.

Protection advice

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What to Do if Your Receive Counterfeit Notes or Coins

With an estimated 3.7 billion genuine bank notes currently in circulation in the UK, counterfeiting is viewed as big business by organised crime syndicates.

 

Only a small fraction of banknotes are counterfeit, but it is essential that they are reported to the police. 

In 2018 alone, around 461,000 counterfeit Bank of England banknotes with a face value of £10 million were taken out of circulation. 

Last month, reports surfaced of criminals using social media platforms such as Instagram to promote and sell counterfeit money with sellers offering counterfeit notes for as little as a tenth of their face value.

In West Yorkshire, police confirmed a spate of incidents across the county in which counterfeit notes were used to pay for goods purchased online.

Victims made arrangements for the buyer to visit their home and pay in cash, only to find out afterwards that counterfeit notes had been used to pay for the goods.

In many cases, people are unsure about where to report counterfeit currency and what to do if they recover or are passed forged notes.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith said: “Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated networks and methods to make counterfeit notes and coins.

“If you have been passed or recover counterfeit currency, this should be reported to your local police force.

 “Police are responsible for investigating the matter and they will liaise with National Counterfeit Currency Unit (aka UKNCO) at the National Crime Agency (NCA).

“Action Fraud does not deal with counterfeit currency offences or reports.”

What to do if you receive counterfeit currency

  • If the notes have been passed and the suspect is not present, this should be reported via 101, by attending your local police station or online depending on the force area.
  • If the suspect is present at the location or still nearby, consideration should be given to contacting the police on 999.
  • Counterfeit notes should be retained and provided to the police as evidence, ideally inside a plastic wallet or paper envelope to preserve potential fingerprints.
  • If there is CCTV footage of the suspect available, this should be downloaded and provided to the police together with the counterfeit notes or coins.

Please see the links below to websites that contain further information about security features present in bank notes and coins to assist you in determining if the item is counterfeit or genuine:

How to check your bank notes (Bank of England)

Banknote issuers (Scotland and Northern Ireland – how to check your bank notes)

Coin designs and specifications

Euros and dollars

If you have information about persons; making, supplying, passing or possessing counterfeit currency (banknotes and / or coins) please contact your local Police or report the matter anonymously to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111 or online    

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Courier Fraud, Bogus Police and Bank Official Alert - What you need to know

Individuals have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be a police officer or banking official

The suspect will say either:

Occasionally the victim will be told to dial a non-emergency extension of ‘161’ to receive confirmation of the individual’s bogus identity, the bogus official will advise the victim to lie about the reason for the withdrawal or purchase if challenged by staff, as the staff member is involved in the fraud
A courier attends the victim’s home address to collect the goods the same day Often the victim is given a code word for the courier as a way of authentication.

What you need to do - Your Bank or Police will Never :-

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Fake TalkTalk E-Mails

Action Fraud has received over 100 reports this week about fake emails purporting to be from TalkTalk. The emails state that the recipent's TalkTalk account is in credit and that they are owed a refund. The links in the emails lead to malicious websites.

Don't click on the links or attachments in any suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

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Telephone Fraud

Fraudsters can ‘spoof’ telephone numbers so that people receiving the call (on landline or mobile) think they are dealing with someone from the UK on a genuine number, when they are not. If you have a caller display on your landline and you see what looks like an incoming UK mobile or landline number, please don’t take it for granted that it actually is.

This can also happen with a call made to your mobile phone – for example it can show the name as ‘Bank’ if that is how you have it stored in your mobile, leading you to think it’s a genuine call from your bank, when it isn’t.

Note the Telephone Preference Service cannot protect you from these types of calls, as the service aims only to ensure genuine companies do not make contact if you have registered to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls.

How to keep safe from this type of fraud

1. Don’t assume the caller is actually phoning from the number you see.

2. Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for personal or financial information in case it is a scam.

3. If in doubt, check with the organisation directly by phone or email using contact details from your records – do not use contact details given by the fraudsters

4. Do not confirm anything to a ‘cold caller’ you don’t know and do not start any dialogue. Simply hang up.

5. Do not be rushed into action. Question and check before acting.

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam - what next?

6. Stop further payments – contact your bank or cancel your transactions directly. (Monitor your statements regularly for any unusual activity.)

7. Report this has happened - contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk.

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